The geometry and structure of the Ring Nebula (Messier 57)
This schematic shows the geometry and structure of the Ring Nebula (Messier 57) as viewed side-on. This shows the nebula's wide halo, inner region, lower-density lobes of material stretching towards and away from us, and the prominent, glowing disc.
We are gazing almost directly down one of the poles of this structure, and view the brightest part of this nebula as the colourful main "ring". This is composed of gas thrown off by a dying star at the centre of the nebula.